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Old 03-14-2013, 10:14 PM   #1
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Exclamation Need Help on Starting Problem on Volvo TMD 40A

Issue: Stbd Engine will not crank over.

Components: Battery, Key switch, Starter/Starter Solenoid, Glow Plug Relay, Starter Relay, 40amp breaker/fuse, Alternator.

Troubleshooting so far:

1. Found glow plug relay bad
2. Found Starter relay bad

The port engine starts and ran fine. Took relays from STBD engine installed on port engine and it would not start.

Took both good relays from port engine and installed on stbd engine. Turned key on, got a glow plug light, but 40amp fuse was clicking when turned key to start and no engine turn over. Disconnected fuse and bypassed fuse. Same result clicking.

Made sure battery was fully charged.

So I convinced my friend to take the alternator and starter in to get tested. May be a bad starter solenoid.

So ideas? Comments?
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Old 03-14-2013, 11:24 PM   #2
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So ideas? Comments?
I had a similar problem several years ago and did everything you just mentioned. It turned out to be the ignition switch and I changed it out in 5 minutes and $38 later.
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Old 03-15-2013, 07:17 AM   #3
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Do you know how to bypass everything by just jumping the starter?….then work backwards.

If it still doesn’t spin, take it off and try (if you have never done this, be careful as it produces a lot of torque)

The Alternator has nothing to do with it but if older and taking the starter, no harm in having it checked/rebuilt too.

I assume you have cleaned all electrical connections thoroughly?
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Old 03-15-2013, 07:22 AM   #4
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2. Found Starter relay bad


Took both good relays from port engine and installed on stbd engine. Turned key on, got a glow plug light, but 40amp fuse was clicking when turned key to start and no engine turn over. Disconnected fuse and bypassed fuse. Same result clicking.
First, I've never heard a fuse click and can't imagine how a fuse could possibly click.

Second, you disconnected and bypassed the fuse and it still clicked? That doesn't make a bit of sense.

Throwing parts at a problem is one way to troubleshoot and repair, but it's not the most efficient way and it often ends up costing a lot of money paying for parts that weren't really needed.

Did you check the voltage at the starter when trying to start the engine? It should be the same as on the other engine. Since you have two identical engines, troubleshooting is much easier because you can compare voltage readings at various points from the good engine to the bad one.

It seems odd that you would find two seperate relays to be bad yet when you replaced them the engine would still not start. It's pretty rare that two or more parts would fail at the same time unless the failure of one would cause damage to the other.
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Old 03-15-2013, 07:25 AM   #5
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Check all your grounds. Maybe your fuse is grounding, that might be the clicking noise
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:12 AM   #6
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Do you know how to bypass everything by just jumping the starter?….then work backwards.

If it still doesn’t spin, take it off and try (if you have never done this, be careful as it produces a lot of torque)

The Alternator has nothing to do with it but if older and taking the starter, no harm in having it checked/rebuilt too.

I assume you have cleaned all electrical connections thoroughly?

+++++1!

I was on the dock a few weeks ago and was talking to the owner of our previous boat- he had a starting problem. Relays clicking, no start. (Cummins 250TA)

Did the tracedown from the switch to the starter. Disconnected the preheat toasters. swapped relays from port (known good) to starboard (suspect).

Nothing.

Took a look at the battery- disconnected and thoroughly cleaned the terminals. Problem solved.
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:39 AM   #7
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A few ideas:

First, are you sure that the engine is not seized? Use a big socket wrench on the front pulley and make sure that the engine will turn over.

If that's all OK, then you just need to work backward from the starter. It's helpful to understand how a starter works. This Youtube video is wordless, but you should get the idea:


The key here is that when the solenoid energizes, it both engages the starter with the flywheel and also completes the high-amperage circuit to the starter motor.

You need to answer three questions:

1) Is your solenoid is energizing?
This is easy to test, use a 12 volt probe tester on the start terminal of the solenoid.

2) Is the solenoid completing the high-amperage circuit?
This is easy to test, you can use a 12 volt probe tester on the input to the start motor, and plus you can hear the starter spin.

3) Is the pinion gear engaging.
This is easy to test, because if the starter spins and the motor doesn't, the pinion gear is not engaging.

My final note: starter motors are pretty standard. If you have problem, take it to a good automotive electric shop instead of a Volvo parts place. You'll save big time.

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Old 03-15-2013, 12:35 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone for the info. I would have troubleshot it a little differantly as mentioned here, but not my boat and I was not in charge, so I made suggestions as you are correct he was throughing parts at the problem.

He has removed the starter and taking it in to get tested.
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Old 03-15-2013, 10:52 PM   #9
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Clicking often means there is enough power to operate a relay or solenoid but not enough to get the starter motor turning.

Check the battery cable connections at the battery and pay attention to the ground side. Lots of people miss that not understanding the CIRCUIT.

good luck
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Old 03-15-2013, 10:59 PM   #10
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Scott--- Neat little video and I learned something from it about how starters work that I didn't know before. Thanks.
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:29 PM   #11
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I had a very similar issue with my stbd engine, but it was intermittent for a long time. Whenever it was a problem, I could jump the solenoid with a screwdriver and it would crank perfectly and start right up.

I cleaned up all connections and confirmed good grounds throughout the system. Minor improvement, but the problem returned.

I replaced the start solenoid, but no help.

I replaced the start switch twice and both times I changed it, the problem disappeared for a short while, then reappeared.

I finally bypassed the hot wire from the switch to the start solenoid. That solved my problem. I found a concealed butt splice in the old wire that I suspect was the problem.

YMMV, but maybe this points you in the right direction.
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Old 03-16-2013, 12:37 PM   #12
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To close this here is waht I found.

He had bought a new starter and it wasn't grounded properly. Made a ground strap from engine ground to the starter, turned the key and it fired right up. This after I found he had a few wires on his solenoids in the wrong position.

Thanks everyone for your help.
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Old 03-16-2013, 12:43 PM   #13
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To close this here is waht I found.

He had bought a new starter and it wasn't grounded properly. Made a ground strap from engine ground to the starter, turned the key and it fired right up. This after I found he had a few wires on his solenoids in the wrong position.

Thanks everyone for your help.
That's why knowing how to jump the starter saves a lot of troubleshooting...
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Old 03-16-2013, 03:33 PM   #14
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Glad you got it sorted out.
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Old 03-17-2013, 12:32 PM   #15
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1) I don't think jumping the starter is going to do much if the starter is not grounded.

2) I would have thought the act of bolting the starter to the engine would ground it. That is unless it's insulated from the case and has a seperate ground terminal.

In any event, troubleshooting a non functioning starter is pretty simple unless someone else who doesn't know what he is doing has already taken things apart, switched wires around, etc. At that point, it's sometimes easier to take everything apart and put it back togethjer the correct way.
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Old 03-18-2013, 01:18 PM   #16
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[QUOTE=rwidman;142333] 2) That is unless it's insulated from the case and has a seperate ground terminal.
QUOTE]

Bingo. They sold him an insulated starter and he didn't know it....
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Old 03-18-2013, 01:23 PM   #17
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[QUOTE=Alaskan Sea-Duction;142580]
Quote:
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2) That is unless it's insulated from the case and has a seperate ground terminal.
QUOTE]

Bingo. They sold him an insulated starter and he didn't know it....
I'm assuming it has an extra terminal on it and wonder why he would't have noticed it and wondered what it was supposed to be connected to.

Obviously, he didn't buy an exact replacement starter.
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Old 03-18-2013, 01:28 PM   #18
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If you know how to jump a stater for troubleshooting, you would immediately see the empty terminal and rectify it...sorry but my first reaction is to eliminate the starter because if I need one, it takes so long in some cses to get one for me or a customer.

If it's not the starter, then usually the rest of the ignition system is easy to fix or replace at least with a temp part.
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